Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring the opening purpose of the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and West Ham on the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020. Ian KINGTON / AFP
Alexandre Lacazette got here off the bench to maintain Arsenal within the hunt for a Champions League place as his late strike survived a VAR evaluation to seal a significant 1-Zero win towards West Ham on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta’s facet struggled to search out any momentum for lengthy durations on the Emirates Stadium and will simply have been behind earlier than Lacazette settled a scrappy London derby.
The French striker turned in Mesut Ozil’s header with 12 minutes left, nevertheless it took a number of minutes earlier than VAR lastly confirmed the German was onside when he laid on the purpose.
Arsenal’s third successive Premier League win lifted them inside 5 factors of fourth positioned Chelsea, who face Everton on Sunday.
Incomes a Champions League berth nonetheless seems to be a long-shot for Arsenal, particularly after this uneven show.
However the Gunners, who face Manchester Metropolis on Wednesday, are unbeaten of their final eight league video games and confirmed commendable spirit to make the late breakthrough.
West Ham have misplaced 5 of their final seven league video games and, with just one win of their previous 9, they’re destined for a nervous end to the season as they battle to keep away from relegation.
Arteta admitted this week that solely a victory towards West Ham would preserve their Champions League bid alive.
He obtained his want, however solely simply.
There was no pre-match handshake between the groups following the Premier League edict to ditch the ritual over coronavirus fears.
Listless for lengthy durations, Arsenal didn’t look too eager on any contact as soon as the sport began both.
Granit Xhaka carelessly surrendered possession to Jarrod Bowen, whose long-range drive slipped by means of Bernd Leno’s grasp onto the close to submit.
West Ham ought to have gone forward when Michail Antonio raced onto Pablo Fornals’ move, however with the unmarked Sebastien Haller screaming for the ball, the winger may solely ship a woeful supply yards behind him.
Pablo Mari, on mortgage from Flamengo, was making his Premier League debut on the coronary heart of Arsenal’s defence alongside David Luiz, whereas Greek centre-back Sokratis was used out of place at right-back.
However Arteta’s reshuffled rearguard had been simply uncovered by Mark Noble’s pin-point move and Leno did nicely to get down rapidly on the ft of Haller after the West Ham striker moved menacingly in direction of purpose.
West Ham’s enterprising opening was practically undone when Sokratis thumped his close-range header onto the bar from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross.
There have been nonetheless loads of holes for David Moyes’ males to use and solely a stunning miss from Antonio stopped them scoring simply earlier than half-time.
Issa Diop climbed above Aubameyang and headed Noble’s nook to Antonio, who in some way managed to screw vast from simply two yards.
For the primary time in over a yr, Arsenal had did not report a shot on course within the first half of a house league sport.
They lastly examined Lukasz Fabianski when Eddie Nketiah darted onto Bukayo Saka’s move and flicked his shot on the Hammers keeper.
West Ham remained a risk and it took an excellent save from Leno to disclaim Antonio’s close-range header from Haller’s flick.
Arteta despatched on Lacazette instead of Nketiah for the ultimate 30 minutes and his arrival turned the sport.
He noticed his enchantment for a penalty rejected by VAR after Angelo Ogbonna appeared to haul him down.
However Lacazette broke the impasse along with his ninth purpose of the season within the 78th minute.
Aubameyang’s shot deflected off Declan Rice and looped to Ozil, whose header discovered Lacazette for a scientific close-range end.
A prolonged VAR evaluation extended the agony for West Ham earlier than it was lastly dominated that Ozil was onside when he arrange Lacazette.
Haller virtually snatched an instantaneous equaliser however his effort was pushed away by Leno as Arsenal held on.